Someone on my list is getting a raclette grill for Christmas! Raclette, which originally hails from Alpine Switzterland, is a cow’s milk cheese that is typically eaten melted. Indeed, the time-honored fashion of serving raclette is to melt some (this was originally done over a fire), scrape it onto a plate, and eat with boiled new potatoes, gherkins or cornichons, and pickled onions. So simple and so satisfying.
Raclette grills or machines must be one of this year’s in gifts, because I’ve seen them in several catalogs (and I don’t recall seeing them last year). They are typically of two kinds: a traditional one in which a large wedge of cheese is melted by a heat source (and scraped onto serving dishes) and a modern style with individual dishes and spatulas for up to eight people (that’s the kind on this year’s gift list). There is also the Barbeclette, an individual one made by Boska that you can use with your grill. I have one of these and love it—great way to add melted cheese to a grilled burger.
So, what, exactly, is Flyover about this? I mean, Switzerland is a LOOOONNNGGG way from America’s heartland. Well, it turns out that some wonderful raclette is being made right here in Flyoverlandia. The Leelanau Cheese Company in Suttons Bay, Michigan (on the Leelanau Peninsula) has been producing award-winning raclette since 1995. John and Anne Hoyt are the cheesemakers. Both apprenticed and worked in Switzerland (Anne is originally from France, where they know a thing or two about cheese). I was fortunate enough to visit the plant this past summer and try their cheeses (they make regular raclette, rosemary raclette, an aged raclette, and fromage blanc). Although I didn’t buy the fromage blanc, I did buy the other three and almost cried when I finished them! The rosemary added a delicious touch to the raclette and I’d really recommend it. All were lovely and the regular raclette melted quite nicely on the grill when I used my Barbeclette.
So, someone is going to have a merry, raclette-y Christmas and I’ll be sending said loved one a link to order some of the wonderful Leelanau Cheese Company raclette!